What is a Brand?
A brand, according to Merriam-Webster is “a public image, reputation, or identity conceived as something to be marketed or promoted.” In real estate, our brand can be considered a combination of:
Simply put, our brand in real estate is our reputation. And according to NAR, the #1 determining factor prospects use in choosing their real estate agent is the agent’s… REPUTATION.
Most established real estate professionals have great reputations. And those reputations came through hard work, consistently delivering great service, and time spent serving customers. However, we often shy away from marketing or promoting our brands. We may feel it’s pushy or we don’t want to seem like we’re bothering people we know.
And that means our brands are created organically. Which means they are intentional. With a little intention behind our branding efforts, we can build market share, increase our deal flow, and work with prospects and clients who respect our value.
Branding Versus Direct Marketing
Marketing your brand is very different from direct marketing or typical agent marketing. Branding leverages consistent messaging over time to build a solid foundation while amplifying your message in the marketplace. Instead of telling people how great you are, brand marketing shows people how great you are.
For example, you could tell people in a social media post that you provide exceptional service when helping them buy or sell a home. That would be a common message found in direct marketing ads and campaigns.
A more effective way to communicate the same point about your exceptional service is to share a social media post featuring a satisfied customer telling people about your exceptional service. The former shouts out a common theme found in agent marketing, whereas the latter builds a lasting brand through social proof.
Designing Your Brand’s Identity
When it comes to building your brand’s identify you can use these 5 agent branding tips:
You Must Be Present – Being present means you can’t be a “secret agent”. Being a secret agent means you tend not to communicate to people that you’re in real estate. Doing so means people who might choose you to work with, don’t even realize you are an option for them. The goal of building your brand awareness is this: when people think of you, they think of real estate. And when they think of real estate, they think of you.
Your Message Matters – Part of your branding messages need to include real estate. Branding yourself by marketing listings, featuring client stories, and sharing your expertise not only reminds people you can help them buy and sell real estate, but sets you apart from competitors in a powerful, distinctive way.
Show People You Care – Part of your branding message needs to show people you care. We all want to believe the people and firms we do business with care more about us than our wallets. And consumers want to believe we care more about them than the transaction they represent. They want to know we’ll put their interests above our own.
Contact Personally – The best way to show people you care is to message or contact them personally. Taking our most precious resource, time, and using it to connect with people shows the you care, and that you don’t take them for granted. Connecting develops connections which lead to more Word-of-Mouth referrals, Word-of-Click recommendations & reviews, and more business from your sphere.
- Use Tools to Connect – Contacting people takes time. So we can use tools to make connecting with people personally a little easier. Tools like FB’s Messenger, Text Messaging, phone calls, social media, etc. all represent methods of direct communication that are efficient and effective for finding clients.
Building Brand Awareness
Marketing your brand starts and is amplified by your contacts and connections. Not strangers. That’s why we start with our contacts and connections with our branding marketing efforts. Did you know, according to the National Association of Realtors, on average 70% of a real estate professional’s business comes from their sphere of influence?
Yet despite the fact that this group represents such a large chunk of business, most of us overlook, ignore, or take it for granted. And with 76% of home sellers abandon their previous agent and work with someone else, the statistics confirm that we are losing out on a ton of potential business.
That’s why, when it comes to building brand awareness, we want to focus on our contacts and connections (aka your sphere of influence). And when you focus on your contacts & connections you can build a brand that builds market share and generates timely, quality leads.
Getting Leads from Your Branding
Branding can attract many customers directly into your inbox. But if you want to generate consistent leads every month, they you’ll want to turn your brand marketing into a consistent system for delivering brand messages to your contacts and connections every month.
This is why we created the 5-Step Real Estate Marketing System. This system generates high quality leads, consistently, while building your brand and reputation.
For our marketing system, we take a 5 step approach:
On the surface, these steps might seem obvious or basic, but the trick is how you connect them in a way where you are constantly providing valuable information to your network; creating a solid context for conversations, and building an expert reputation in your target markets.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the of the steps in the 5-Step Real Estate Marketing System.
Step 1: Publish Useful Real Estate Information
The first step is to publish real estate information people will find useful and engaging. We recommend using a blog post for delivering the useful information. Blog posts make the information easy to produce, publish, and (most importantly) share.
Real estate related tips, trends, and updates are an easy way to provide information that will be interesting to your network. But you can provide information on nearly anything! Home buyer & seller tips, remodeling advice, home equity, etc! As long as it’s real estate related and interesting, you’re good to go!
After you create your blog, it will become the reason for outreach to your network AND it will help create authority & credibility for your online reputation.
Step 2: Send the Info to People You Know
Finding a reason to email you contacts can feel difficult? How do you reach out without feeling like you’re just sending spam or like your only reaching out to see if they are interested in buying or selling a home?
That’s where the blog post comes in. Sharing the valuable information you created becomes an easy reason to reach out to everyone you know.
So for Step 2 of this campaign, you’re going to send an email to all of you contacts. In your email, summarize the main points of the blog post and provide a link to the full article. You can use the example in the video above as the basis for your email!
Step 3: Share a 1-Minute Video
If you’re not currently using video in your marketing, it’s time to start. Video is the most effective marketing medium right now. In fact, those using video get 6 more leads than those that don’t.
What’s more, video helps build trust and establish a relationship with the viewer even before you’ve met. Numerous times now Garry has met a client only to have them say, “I feel like I know you! I see your videos everywhere!”
When you’re first getting started, however, video is intimidating. And that’s why these 1-minute videos are an excellent place to start. They’re short, and you’re just recapping the highlights of the blog post you produced. Big impact. Low commitment.
After you’ve recorded the video, you’re going to share it to your Facebook business page. For extra impact, you can turn it into an ad targeting your contacts & connections on FB.
Step 4: Post Info & Engage on Social Media
For Step 4, you’re going to continue to get your valuable real estate information in front of your contacts in as many ways as possible.
Share your the blog post your created across all of your social media accounts. Post it to your Facebook Business Page, share it on LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest… Whatever you use, go ahead and share the awesome resource you created!
Step 5: Direct Messaging & Follow-up
When you consistently do the previous marketing activities, you’re going to get your contacts thinking about you when they think about real estate. To capture the opportunities that is generating, you need to do personal out reach.
Personal out reach, however, has changed. These days, people rarely answer the phone. So if you want to have personal communication with someone, you’re better off trying an alternative form of outreach. My personal favorite–and in my testing, most effective–method of outreach is Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger is a convenient, unobtrusive way to have a conversation with one of your contacts. Messenger gives your contacts the ability to read & respond at their leisure, and for all of these reasons, Facebook messages have an astronomically high response rate.
And reaching out with Facebook is incredibly easy! Just send a quick, “You recently popped up in my feed, and it made me wonder how you’re doing”. As you can see in the example above, it can produce some amazing results!
Putting It All Together
Now that you know the system for engaging your contacts each month, it is easy to pull forward all the business from repeat clients, referrals, and people you already know. Now you are well on your way to generating consistent, quality leads… in any market!
Want help getting started with the 5-Step Real Estate Marketing System?